Gov’t introduces electronic system to cut down on fertilizer smuggling

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The Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led administration, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, has introduced a new system in a bid to monitor the fertilizer subsidy programme and farming inputs given to farmers.

The new service requires every farmer who wants to benefit from the subsidy have to be biometrically registered but farmers who have already registered can purchase the fertilizer.

Before any purchase is made an agent at the retail shop would take the fingerprint of the farmer and match it with the code on the bag of the fertilizer.

The code identifies the region, district, fertilizer type, source, distributor and details of the retailer. 

It will be able to track all fertilizer bags and inputs from suppliers all the way to end user which is the farmer.

The new technology is expected to eliminate fertilizer smuggling in the country. 

The system will ensure that subsidized fertilizers would now have a special code like the tax stamp introduced by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

This traceability technique is the most affordable off-net and real-time technology that is expected to improve the service and deliver value for money.

Retailers will be given a set of scannable codes to label their inputs based on the quantity of allocation.

This new, highly-efficiency and traceable fertilizer subsidy management system is to ensure that farmers who have registered biometrically benefit from the fertilizer subsidy programme by the government.

 MoFA is currently deploying about 2600 agents to all fertilizer retail shops in the country to register farmers biometrically.

The effective input distribution was achieved through the electronic biometric registration which has currently registered over 500,000 farmers throughout the country.

This means that about that 500,000 farmers are now using the mobile input acquisition platform which is to help farmers reduce stress, acquire relevant information on good agriculture practices, weather, quality input, markets tendency, among others.

Agriculture experts say there is the need for the government to increase the farmer-biometric registration to cover about 2.5 million farmers as well as expand the extension services to achieve higher yields this year.

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | GN